Losing a loved one is hard enough. If you’ve lost someone close to you, you know how challenging it is to focus on anything other than your grief in those first days and weeks.

That pain can be compounded if your loved one doesn’t have a will or other plans that organize important documents and share any final wishes.

It’s natural to avoid thinking about life without those closest to you. But having these difficult conversations now can help ease your heartache when the day comes that they are no longer with you.

Ask These 5 Questions

  1. Do you have an up-to-date will, and have you selected powers of attorney for health care and financial matters? If the answer is no, help your parents arrange a meeting with an estate planning attorney to prepare the necessary documents.
  2. Are your beneficiary designations for your retirement accounts and life insurance policies up-to-date? Review all accounts that have named beneficiaries to make sure that they coordinate with your loved one’s overall estate plan.
  3. What online accounts do you use regularly that I would need to access? Identify those accounts—email, Facebook, PayPal, bank accounts, etc.—and add the usernames, passwords, and security questions and answers to a spreadsheet that can be easily updated.
  4. Where do you save important documents, such as deeds of property, life insurance policies, retirement and bank account statements, etc.? This will help you and other beneficiaries locate the assets passing to you.
  5. What charitable organizations do you support? Including this topic in the planning process can help lighten the conversation as your parents share why University of Minnesota Duluth and other charitable causes are important to them. If they haven’t already done so, suggest giving an estate gift to UMD as a way to make a permanent statement about their values.

Next Steps

Creating a thoughtful and organized plan is a loving and responsible act. We can help you and your loved ones navigate this process and be better prepared for this difficult day. Contact Tricia Bunten at tbunten@d.umn.edu or 218-726-6995 or 866-726-7110 (toll free) and we’ll send you a FREE copy of When a Loved One Passes Away: Answers to Your 12 Most Pressing Questions.

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